Health Facts: Break an old habit for the new year

RARELY DO WE have the chance to start over, but when it comes to health, every year presents an opportunity to make a positive change. Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. With that in mind, here are some tips to achieving optimal health.

Lose the couch … potato: sedentary lifestyles increases one’s risk for weight gain, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, heart disease, and loss of muscle mass and bone strength. Moderate exercise, such as jogging or fast-paced walking is recommended for 150 minutes per week and vigorous exercise, such as running, for 75 minutes per week. Additionally, participation in light weight training twice weekly increases muscle and bone strength, thus reducing risk of falls and fractures.

Snack wisely: Snacking is not necessarily a bad habit. However, what you choose to snack on, may be. Incorporate combinations such as banana and peanut butter, grapes and cheese, and carrot sticks and hummus instead of potato chips, cookies, and candy.

You snooze … you win! Sleep is beneficial, as it allows your body to repair and heal. While planning your week and day ahead, may sure to schedule your sleep. This time for rejuvenation is as important as eating and taking your medication. Adults need 6 to 8 hours of sleep nightly, depending on age. Children need more. Poor sleep may reflect underlying disease, for example thyroid disease, depression, or sleep apnea. If you have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or frequent awakenings at night, then plan to see your doctor for the new year. Testing such as a sleep study or blood testing together with a physical examination from your doctor can help to make a diagnosis.

Swap the soda for water: If you worked two jobs and made 70 percent of your earnings from one, it would be a priority to not miss a day of that job. Similarly, if 70 percent of your body consists of water, it makes sense to replenish this amount daily. Because our body habitus varies from person to person, water requirement also varies from person to person. Your weight in kilograms is an estimated amount of water in ounces you need, so drink up! Another way to tell if you are drinking enough is to look at the color of your urine. The closer it is to the color of water, the closer you are to optimal hydration. Remember, certain medications can discolor your urine so be sure to ask your doctor as well.

Good health is the key to looking good, feeling great, and living longer so take some time and kick an old habit. Adopt a new one for the new year and work toward it daily. Who knows? By the end of this year, it may be something worth celebrating!

This article is sponsored by Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center.



BIO: Dr. Trishanna Sookdeo is a board-certified family medicine physician. She has a Master’s in Public Health and is a volunteer faculty, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at UCF COM. She provides compassionate and quality care to the whole family, ages three days and up. If you have questions or wish to schedule an appointment, call (863) 419-2420, ext. 2, and ask for Dr. Sookdeo.

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